While every year more and more sweep-picking obsessed metal bands grace us with their presence, some stay true to their sound and continue to put out material worth listening to. The new year has proved to be a satisfying year for metal thus far with the release of Lamb of God's Wrath, and as of last week, Crack the Skye by Mastodon.
Two years ago Blood Mountain showed that the band could hold their ground with their quick licks and even faster drumming, but with some more serious songwriting and less focus on the works of Melville. However Crack the Skye is a culmination of Mastodon's ever developing repertoire of material. With Brann Dailor's lyrics based both on dead sister and time travel, the vocal harmonies of Brett Hinds and Troy Sanders, and the overall techinical virtuosity of Mastodon as a unit, they Atlanta natives have created a seven track album is a lead contender for my favorite album of 2009.
The opening track, "Oblivion," draws you in with a the new voice of Brann Dailor, who struts impressive confidence as a singing drummer, and is then immediately backed by Hinds and Sanders on the overly catchy chorus. While the first single, "Divinations," seems to pick up where Blood Mountain left off, in the same vain as "Colony of Birchmen" with intense guitar parts leading into an airy, but engaging chorus. This is what I find to be most appealing about Mastodon.
They are technically sound, but they don't hold back on writing a song for the sake of showing off their shredibility. The songs on Crack the Skye are accessible for even the most novice of a metal fan. They have transcended the side stage of Ozzfest where I saw them first burying their audience with "March of the Fire Ants" and have achieved progressive-metal royalty status.